Lotus Exige Tuning

"Tuning guide to the most effective Lotus Exige modifications."

The Exige hit the roads back in 2000 and is now it it's 3rd generation. It has been a popular track day car and responds very well to tuning mods thanks to it's light weight and great chassis design.

2004 saw the second generation which benefited from some well thought out aerodynamic improvements and a Yamaha designed Toyota engine offering 190hp.

We provide a guide to Exige tuning and highlight the optimum modifications. Lotus Exiges are good project cars and with the best modified upgrades you can certainly maximise your driving opportunities.

The Exige is a great project car to do. We see DIY mechanics wasting money on their Exige doing the wrong mods and then having to start over. Follow our tips to avoid making the common mistakes

Tuning tips and articles

Engine tuning Transmission tuning Care care Intake & exhaust mods Improve handling Forums

 

Handling/Suspension upgrades

Many Exige owners uprate the handling of their cars with uprated suspension upgrades as a priority, this will certainly increase your enjoyment of the car.

If you set the toe out to 0.8 to 1.3 degrees on the front, and add a tiny bit of negative camber then cornering will often be enhanced.

We suggest that you fit performance suspension and lower the car by 23mm - 37 mm. Larger drops require arch work - especially on models already equipped with performance suspension.

Turning our attention to the Exige's engine we need to get a bit more power out of the top end.

With our tips your Exige can be a track day fun car and still be a reliable daily driver.

Smaller engines do not provide much of a return in terms of power so start with a bigger engine. Engine swaps are a good option if you have a small engine size.

Engine Tuning.

The engines fitted to the Exige were all solid and thankfully have plenty of aftermarket parts available for them.

  • 1.8 L Rover K-series I4 (Series 1)
  • 1.8 L Toyota 2ZZ-GE I4
  • 1.8L Toyota 2ZZ-GE Supercharged I4
  • 3.5 L Toyota 2GR-FE Supercharged V6 (Series 3)

These mods and tuning upgrades are usually carried out by our members, decide how far you want to go before you get started.

Getting the right performance parts for your planned usage of the car is vital. Stage 3 competition upgrades just won't work well on the road making the car difficult to drive.

Please watch our video which covers the 5 principles of tuning your car. Be sure to subscribe and support our new channel.

Best Engine Mods for your car

  1. Mapping - remapping provides the most advantage in terms of cost savings,  aftermarket ECUs, and piggyback ECUs are all alternatives.
  2. Fast road cams are one of the most significant mechanical changes, but they must be installed by someone who knows what they're doing and they are not always easy to source but you might find a local firm to regrind a stock camshaft.
  3. Intake and Exhaust - Note that on their own these mods will NOT ADD POWER in most cases, but they can help enhance power after other mods by removing the restriction.
  4. Upgrades to turbochargers and superchargers - forced induction is the most efficient approach to increase air supply, allowing you to burn more fuel and make more power. It is one of the most costly upgrades but provides the best gains.
  5. Head work - The goals of porting and flowing the head are to get air flowing into the engine while removing flow restrictions and turbulence.

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Alloy wheels, Panel air filter, Remap, Lighter flywheel, Sports exhaust, Suspension upgrade (drop 23mm - 37 mm.).

Typical stage 2 mods often include: Power/Sport clutch, Ported and polished head, high flow fuel injector, fuel pump upgrades, Fast road cam.

Typical stage 3 mods often include: Internal engine upgrades (pistons/head/valves), Sports gearbox, Adding or upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger), Competition cam, Engine balancing.

You really need to keep as much low end torque as possible and aim for a long power band across the rev range rather than a narrow top end power spike.

The whole point of our hints is to give a little insight into the world of modifying modifications and point you in the right direction, our forum is the place to go for detailed advice and tips on your car tuning project, the best performance modifications and all aspects of modding cars.A fast road cam is one of the best NASP power mods you can do with a single part fitted to your engine.

The intake & exhaust durations play a large part in your cars power band, but be careful here, getting this wrong can upset the idle and make the car hard to drive in traffic. You'd need to follow a cam upgrade with other mods and finish with a performance chip for the best performance gains.

Don't forget to ramp up the fuelling when you are increasing the power - it makes the car more thirsty.

Using higher octane petrol is another option if you find you are suffering from pinking or premature ignition on your Lotus project after fitting other tuning parts. To get sufficient fuel you may need to upgrade the injectors on your engine.

Uprate the fuel pump to cope with the extra fuel requirements of your tuned Exige's uprated injectors.

Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

The next area for modification is the intake and exhaust. Please note that WE DO NOT FIND IMPROVEMENTS WITH INDUCTION KITS, unless you have tuned your car a lot and are finding that the standard air intake has become a limitation.

Induction kits can work well on turbo engines and larger engines (if supplied with a suitable cold air feed or air box), generally though we'd just recommend for Exige engines you should settle for a sports panel air filter preferably made from cotton.

Do not go with the biggest exhaust you can buy this will slow the exhaust rate - the best for power gains are usually between 1.5 to 2.5 inches. It is the shape and material more than the bore size.

Getting a professionally flowed (ported and polished) head with larger valves can fully release the engines power. A good fast road performance clutch will help to keep that power going where it should. Never make false economies or think that a standard clutch to cope. The best mods we recommend for your Exige are fast road camshaft, remap, induction and exhaust, suspension.

Remaps offer impressive power gains on all turbo charged cars. On NA (naturally aspirated) engines the benefits are doubtful. However a remap on a NA (naturally aspirated) engine will help unleash the potential if you have done a lot of mods. Adding forced induction will see significant power gains but this is usually too expensive to be cost effective. Turbos are generally harder to add than a supercharger. Turbos increase power in exponential proportion to rising engine speed and this can make mapping difficult.

It is more straightforward to map a supercharger because the boost is directly proportional to engine speed on a linear curve. Decreasing the engines compression ratio will allow you to add forced induction, water injection may also help prevent detonation.

Alloy wheel upgrades.

The benefits of alloys include reducing your unsprung weight and more efficient brake cooling. If you are serious about performance then you will need to carefully choose your tires - ideally with a soft compound tire. The downside to large alloys on your Exige is that you're altering your final drive ratio and this will have a detrimental effect on performance.

For this reason we would advise sticking to a maximum wheel size of 17 inches, although we know some of our members have installed larger rims with no problems.

If you would like to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your car please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss Exige options in more detail with our Exige owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Lotus tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

Please help us improve these tips by sending us your feedback in the comments box below.

We love hearing about our website visitors projects, especially the mods done and which work best for you on your car. Which helps us keep our guides and tips up to date helping others with their modified car projects. Your feedback and comments are used to keep this page up to date, and help improve the accuracy of these articles which are kept updated and constantly revised.

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